Nodal User Journeys

A conventional preface to a UX project is based on an “as is” user/customer journey. This is based on a sequence of interactions conjunct by mostly linear events which ultimately lead to an end goal. Besides the contextual value we gain from these insights, we can also observe the structural nature of the user journey and monitor the users movements from one point to another.

Are we architecting an experience or facilitating one?

A Linear user journey

A linear user journey model relies on a sequential set of steps successfully completed by the user. It also assumes the user needs to take a predefined route to complete an end goal. Linear user journeys however short, may also anticipate time it takes to complete actions and where they take place.

A user journey is idealistic. We aren’t all uniform in processing information and acting on it, so can we anticipate how a user might navigate to complete a goal? Perhaps the foundation should support the dynamic nature of a user’s movement and flexible enough to accommodate all conditions, user and system errors and changes.

A Nodal user journey

A nodal user journey model is a network of connected nodes which afford the user the ability to move to and from nodes freely without having to labour through a series of successive steps. Each node represents a decision point in a service. Most importantly, it doesn’t anticipate any paths a user might take.

The 4 principles of nodal behaviour

  1. Each node is directly accessible. Access to some nodes are conditional on status of other nodes
  2. Each node retains a memory of all temporary inputed information regardless of any condition.
  3. Each node needs to react to other nodes. This is called ‘round tripping’
  4. The network needs to cater for system or user forced errors

As the new year approaches, give nodal some thought and rethink your user journeys. Happy holidays!